Many areas are starting to lift their stay-at-home orders; however, travel is still widely restricted worldwide, and divers everywhere have felt its effects. If any good has come of this past year in the world of scuba, it has forced avid divers to explore what their local diving scene has to offer. With half of the globe currently in the middle of the winter season, many of these new-found dive sites can be quite chilly. However, do not give in to the cold and store away your dive gear until next year. With a few tips and tricks, you can stay in the water this winter and continue to enjoy cold water diving.
The first rule in cold water diving is to not skimp on warmth. Just because a thicker wetsuit may be harder to get on is no reason to tough it out wearing a thinner suit. Research how cold your local diving gets and choose an appropriate level of exposure protection. You may need a hood-integrated 7mm wetsuit or even a dry suit. A dry suit is an excellent option, especially because it will keep you warm underwater and when you are hanging out between dives.
Using a steel cylinder may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cold water diving; however, it is a great tool to help offset the increased amount of weight needed when using a thicker wetsuit or dry suit. Wearing a steel cylinder is like adding 5-8 pounds (2-4 kilograms) onto your weight system since they are negatively buoyant, both full and empty.
Nothing says cold better than a rush of chilly water down the back of your wetsuit. Making sure that your equipment fits properly is especially critical when diving in cold water. Your wetsuit should fit nice and snug, and all dry suit seals must fit flush against your skin.
There is nothing worse than starting your dive already cold. One of the best tricks to enjoy cold water diving is to stay nice and warm before the dive and during the surface interval if doing multiple dives. The best way to keep warm before the dive is to wear appropriately warm, dry clothes, shoes, and a hat during gear set up. If boat diving, make sure you set up your equipment before the boat even leaves the dock if possible; that way, you can focus on staying warm and relaxed during the boat ride out to the dive site. Investing in a warm dive or “swim” jacket is a great way to keep warm between dives as they are usually hooded, fleece-lined, which is great for wicking water, and extra-long.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to make cold water diving more enjoyable. Do not let the long, chilly days of winter keep you land-locked. With a few modifications and an adaptable attitude, you can enjoy exploring the underwater world every day of the year.
Are you interested in dry suit diving? Here you can find all important information.
Source: image©Janez Kranjc